As you prepare to bring your new baby home, one of the biggest (both in size and cost!) purchases you will make is the baby crib! While almost any crib will do the trick, there are lots of options to choose from. In this buyers guide, we will go through all the factors to consider when crib shopping. This will walk you through how to choose a baby crib for your little one, that you won’t regret later on!
Baby Crib Features to Consider
Most cribs can be converted into a toddler bed, and also used as a standard bed frame for a full mattress. Some cribs can also be converted into a day bed! While it may seem far in the future now, your baby will eventually outgrow his or her crib, and picking a convertible crib can be a great way to save money in the future. If you do decide to get a convertible crib, try taking into consideration how the frame would look on a full-sized bed when you are choosing a baby crib.
Most cribs are JPMA certified, but some also carry the Greenguard Gold certification. The Greenguard Gold certification has higher standards for low VOC emissions and chemicals. If you are looking to make your nursery as non-toxic as possible, this is a great certification to look for when you choose oa baby crib! You can easily check for the certification using this database.
While most cribs are just a bed, some cribs also have drawers underneath or on the side. If you don’t have a lot of storage space, this can be a great way to keep your nursery organized. There are also some models that come with a connected changing table!
4. Matching Furniture
If you are opting for separate furniture pieces (as opposed to a crib and changing table combo), it is a good idea to look at the coordinating pieces to make sure that they also fit your style and needs! While it’s not necessary to buy all of your nursery furniture from the same set, it will certainly make it easier to match the color and style.
5. Mattress Levels
As your baby grows, you will need to lower the mattress to ensure they stay safe and can’t tumble over the edge of the crib rails. All cribs should have at least two mattress levels, but some offer three or four, making these transitions smoother!
If you are short on space, a mini crib might be the ideal solution! Mini cribs can typically be used until your baby is around a year old, and some can even be converted into a twin bed. This is the perfect option if you plan to have your baby sleeping in your room for a while but don’t want to give up too much space.
While all cribs available for purchase today should be adhering to the current safety requirements, if you are considering using an older crib, it is important to ensure that it meets up-to-date safety standards. Some of the more recent crib safety updates include no drop-sides, stronger mattress supports, and stronger wood slats. Generally, if a crib is more than 10 years old, it’s not advisable to use it. While it may be tempting to let your little one sleep in the same crib you slept in as an infant for sentimental reasons, safety is most important.
Tips for Choosing a Color and Style
1. Plan Ahead!
The biggest tip for choosing your baby crib color and style is to think about the future. If you plan to use this crib for future children, make sure that your crib is gender-neutral and could be adapted to a new nursery theme (if your nursery theme is gender-specific or you plan to change it for each child).
2. Think Flexible!
Since most cribs can be converted into a regular bed frame, make sure the style is fitting for an older child or teenager as well! This will allow you to get the most value out of your purchase.
3. Go Natural!
Babies are notorious for chewing on their crib rails. While you can get crib rail covers for the top rail, your little one might still manage to get their teeth on the slats, so it can be wise to pick a crib with a non-toxic finish.
Best Baby Cribs
Best Greenguard Gold Certified Crib:
Coming in at under $200, this Greenguard Gold Certified crib is the perfect combination of extra safe and budget-friendly. It has four mattress positions and converts into a daybed, toddler bed, or full bed. To top it off, the DaVinci Kalani is available in seven different colors, so it is easy to find the perfect fit for your nursery!
Best Combination Crib:
Featuring a sidecar changing table (including the pad!) with two shelves and a drawer underneath the bed, this crib is the ultimate space-saver! This crib has three mattress positions and converts into a toddler bed, daybed, or full bed.
This mini crib is simple, but efficient! Available in grey or white, this crib measures just 40” x 25”, making it perfect for a smaller space. Despite its smaller size, it still has plenty to offer with four adjustable mattress heights, conversion options for a twin bed, and Greenguard Gold Certification!
Best Crib For a Budget:
At just over $100, the Dream On Me Synergy Crib is the perfect option if you are trying to keep to a budget! Like most, this crib converts to a toddler bed, day bed, or queen bed, and also has four adjustable mattress heights. It also comes in a wide array of colors like mint and lavender, with white being the least expensive.
Best Baby Crib Accessories
Best Crib Mattresses
Choosing a baby crib can be a difficult decision, but deciding on a baby crib mattress might be even harder! Here are some of the best ones available:
- Best Washable Mattress: Newton Baby Crib Mattress: This breathable mattress is made up of 90% air and it is 100% washable! Newton also offers a mini-crib mattress and is Greenguard Gold certified.
- Best Organic Mattress: Naturpedic Organic Crib Mattress: If you are looking for a great non-toxic mattress, Naturpedic is the way to go. These mattresses are certified organic by the GOTS and also carry certifications from Made-Safe and Greenguard.
- Best Mattress For a Budget: Graco Premium Foam Crib Mattress: At $70, this mattress is a great deal! On top of that, it is Greenguard Gold certified and has a washable, water resistant cover.
Best Mattress Protectors
Some babies are “leakier” than others, but all babies will likely wet through, spit up, or have a diaper explosion at some point or another, making a mattress protector absolutely essential. There are tons of options to get the job done, but here are a couple that we recommend!
- Carter’s Waterproof Fitted Quilted Mattress Cover: If you are looking for a simple waterproof vinyl cover, this is the best price you will find!
- I’m a Little Teapot Organic Crib Mattress Protector: If you are specifically looking for a non-toxic option, this mattress protector is both GOTS and Oeko-TEX certified!
Best Crib Sheets
Choosing sheets for your baby crib can sometimes be more fun than choosing the crib itself, with all of the patterns and colors to choose from! And remember, you will definitely want at least one extra sheet in case of accidents! Here are a few of our favorites.
- Best Organic Crib Sheets: Burt’s Bees Baby: Not only are these sheets GOTS certified, they also come in tons of adorable patterns and prints!
- Coziest Crib Sheets: aden + anais: Better known for their muslin swaddle blankets, aden + anais also make beautiful cotton crib sheets.
- Waterproof Crib Sheets: Ely’s + co.: If you don’t have a waterproof mattress cover, or if you just want a little extra protection, these TPU lined crib sheets are a great option to keep your crib mattress safe and dry.
Miscellaneous Crib Accessories
- Crib Caddy: If you don’t opt for a combination crib, a crib caddy is a great way to keep all of your diaper changing essentials close by. Even if you don’t plan to change baby’s diaper in the crib, you may be surprised at how often this comes in handy!
- Crib Rail Covers: While crib bumper pads are no longer considered safe, rail covers can be an important addition to your crib! These covers go along the top of the rail to help prevent your baby from chewing the crib rail or hitting his or her head too hard.
Picking out a crib for your little one can feel like an overwhelming task with so many options and features, but remember that there is no wrong crib! Do your best to think through what type of crib will be best for you, choose a baby crib, and then embrace your choice. After all, your baby’s sweetest moments of sleep will likely be in your arms!